On the Construction and Ensorcellment of Magickal Blades, in Particular, Swords

-A treatise by the Academician

 In Stern and it’s Surrounds, there are a significant number of magickal blades, almost all of which have certain degrees of intelligence comparable to their puissance. This intelligence, it has been determined, allows the blades to retain and employ the respective ensorcellments held within them. Most of these blades are acquired by their wielders in one of two ways: for one, they are inherited, passed down from father to son in the patriarchal fashion and traditional tenets of several Greyhawkian religions; and for two, acquired in battle or stolen.

 However, while there are several exhaustive histories of these blades in general and numerous tomes on specific blades and their histories, there is very little written from a dweomering perspective as to the effective manufacture and enchanting of such blades. Hereafter follows an outline for such a process.

 First: as in all enchantment of materials, the magus must acquire or have constructed a blade of surpassing quality; masterwork-level at a minimum. From there, it is generally considered good form to add structures, sigils, gemmary, and any other decorative elements as the magus sees fit.

 Second, the magus will perform the traditional processes which normally are sufficient to lay in an enchantment to a blade such that it becomes a bladetype +1. These processes are widely known, and I will omit them here for the sake of brevity.

 At this point, a magus can leave off and have a perfectly serviceable blade, but for the inclusion of spell power to a weapon, one must give it intelligence; for with no governing sentience, it is impossible for an ensorcelled weapon to absorb, hold and, later, enact any sort of dweomer.

 Therefore, the blade at this point must be ensoulled as well as ensorcelled, for a degree of intelligence is necessary for the employment of weapon-based spell effect.  The inculcation of sentience to a magickal weapon is a fairly straightforward process, but planning and forethought are essential. Initially, it is important for the magus to determine what sort of creature will be appropriate for the blade. This must take into account the dweomers the magus wishes the blade to carry, the relative intelligence and, more importantly, will the blade will eventually have, alignment considerations, and the relative ease with which the sentient creature can be procured.

 Typically, the dweomerability of a blade is dependant on the intelligence of the sentience therein. The formula is thus: Intelligence of sentience plus level of enchanter divided by 6 equals number of spell levels the blade may hold (rounded down); For example, a 10th level enchanter wishes to ensorcell a blade using a highly intelligent dog (intelligence: 4) as the sentient element. 4+10=14; 14/6=2.33, rounded down to two. Therefore a successful enchantment using this structure would result in a blade with an intelligence of 4 and two spell levels of possible enchantment above and beyond the to hit and damage pluses (which are enchanted and calculated separately). There would be negligible will, and no language capability other than a possible level of rudimentary gestural activities, most commonly manifested as a tugging or pulling movement on the part of the blade, although not so much as would affect combat.

 As an alternate example, consider an Archmagus (18th level) ensorcelling a blade with a captured lamia (intelligence: 14). The formula here would be 14+18=32; 32/6=5.33, or five spell levels of possible enchantment. Additionally, since the creature in this case has high intelligence, an element of will and alignment must be factored in. Although the ensoullement process in typically invasive and, in all cases, kills the previous host body, most creatures of more than adequate intelligence retain at least some measure of consciousness post-procedure. Therefore, in the above example, you would have will equal to that of the lamia in life, equivalent language ability, and the blade would retain the Chaotic Evil alignment.

 The process by which the creature’s sentience is captured and thrown into the weapon is based in Magic Jar/Trap The Soul spellwork. First, the creature must be captured, bound or in some other way incapacitated, and placed in proximity of the weapon to be enchanted. The creature may or may not be conscious, as the magus wishes or is most convenient. Drugs and/or alcohol used to sedate the creature will have no affect on the spell, since the body on which they work will die as the spell is completed. Then, the creature’s life-force must be transferred into the blade, using either Magic Jar (MU5) or Trap The Soul (MU8). Trap The Soul is the typically methodology, and works excellently provided the basic aspects of the spell (specifically, the overall cost of the blade must meet the recommendations for the soul-containing gem as described in the spell) are met.

 A similar effect may be gained by using a Magic Jar, although the process is somewhat more laborious. The magus jars into the body of the creature, and the creature’s life-force is forced into the weapon to be ensorcelled – again, provided the weapon meets the basic requirements of the spell. Then, the host body must be destroyed utterly (i.e., via Disintegration) at the same time the magus cancels the spell (this necessitates the requiring of an assistant, obviously).  The magus returns to his own body, but the creature’s body, being destroyed, cannot allow the return of the creature’s life-force, thereby trapping the life-force in the weapon.

 This process is followed immediately with a Permanence, and is thus complete. The magus may then move on to fulfilling the potential enchantment. After the blade has been successfully sentiented, the magus can then begin integrating spell powers into the weapon. As said before, the integration of intelligence to the weapon allows a certain spell level of enchantment to be added to blade. Based on the type of spell effect, charges or effect may be added. Using the above Archmagus/Lamia blade, the Archmagus has five spell levels that may be enchanted into the blade. He chooses to insert the spells Darkness 15’ Radius (2) and Lightning Bolt (3).

 Darkness 15’ Radius is an area of effect spell, and subsequently may be either charged or Permanenced. The Archmagus wishes the spell to be cast from the sword at will, and so after casting Darkness into the spell, follows it with Permanence.

 Lightning Bolt may only be charged, and so the Archmagus casts the Bolt into the sword, and follows it with Recharge. He does thing 10 times over the course of the next five days, thereby adding ten charges to the weapon.

 With all spell level capability fulfilled, the Archmagus wishes to add another “plus” of combat ability, and so takes the time and effort to do so, moving the enchantment on the sword from +1 to +2. He thereby completes the enchantment, resulting in the following sword:

Nightbolt   Longsword +2   Darkness 15’ Radius, Lightning Bolt (10 charges, may be recharged) Intelligence 14, Will per intelligence, Speaks Common, Lamia, Draconic

Materials costs are that for a masterwork longsword, plus decoration sufficient to meet the requirements of the Trap The Soul spell. Time and materials for the associated enchantments, including the five days necessary for charging. The Archmagus has additionally casted Permanence twice, and so loses 2 points of Constitution (often, apprentices are used to some parts of the construction process, so as to ameliorate the effects of some high level spells).

 Alternative Effects

 As is often the case, creatures of lesser intelligence are often used as sentience for swords, for several reasons. For one, such creatures are generally easier to capture and control, often going willingly (or unwittingly) into the process; second, the use of creatures lesser intelligence keep costs, both in time and materials, low. Thirdly, using creatures of higher intelligence, creates more powerful swords, but also associated problems.

 Considering the powerful nature of the magicks and the effect that the lamia’s intelligence may have (and the fact that dweomering is a tricky business), some spell changes may result. For example, the lamia’s dark nature, coupled with the Darkness 15’ Radius ability, might affect the outcome of the Lightning Bolt spell such that, rather than the tradition bolts casted by magus’ everywhere, the bolts take the form of black arcs of life-stealing anti-electricity, or something similar, as would be keeping with the ethos of the sword.

 In addition, using highly intelligent spell-using creatures may have effects as well. In the Archmagus/Lamia example, the lamia has innate spell abilities: Charm Person, Mirror Image, Suggestion and Illusion (likely, Phantasmal Force), plus a wisdom draining ability. It is unlikely that the wisdom draining ability would transfer, as this is predicated on the touch of the lamia and, as a physical manifestation tied to the lamia corpus, would not be present through the sword. The spell abilities, however, might very well transfer, especially those that do not require specialized components or complex gestures. The Suggestion ability in particular seems the most likely to be retained by the lamia-in-sword; it is primarily vocal (an ability which the lamia-in-sword retains), is a higher-level spell ability (and thus least likely to be corrupted during the transferal process) and is integral to the lamia abilities, which focus on the luring and capturing of intelligent creatures. This retention element is especially dangerous for the magus, as he might not be aware of the retention and, without proper precaution, be susceptible to it. The unwary wielder would certainly be so susceptible, and might well be in danger of being dominated by the sword.

 To add this to our example:

Nightbolt   Longsword +2   Darkness 15’ Radius, Suggestion (to wielder), Lightning Bolt (10 charges, rechargeable), Intelligence 14, Will per intelligence, Speaks Common, Lamia, Draconic

…where Suggestion might be initially unknown, although Identify would certainly reveal it. A cautious magus, which all should be, would likely Identify a newly constructed sword immediately to discover any transferred effects. In general, a magus may safely Identify a new sword prior to the ability making itself available, since the trauma of becoming a sword debilitates the entity for up to a day.  Transferred abilities from the creature are in addition to the spell level limits placed by the Creature Intelligence/Caster equation, and do not affect that process.

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built by unclefester | sternzwischen | updated 14-05-30 00:56:44